Mary Shelley Kept Her Husband's Heart After His Death And Other Stories You Maybe Don't Know
By | February 7, 2020
Her mother died when she was an infant
One of the earliest masters of horror, Mary Shelley wasn't just dabbling in the dark when she wrote one of the most important and influential novels of all time. The mother of science-fiction knew what she was talking about when she laid the groundwork for goths everywhere by creating Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus at the age of 18. Her entire life was marred by tragedy, with even her happiest moments shadowed by a gloomy air of sadness. Her favorite place was a cemetery, which makes sense, because she was surrounded by death. She even kept her husband's heart wrapped in a love poem inside her desk. All you baby goths need to get on her level.
Shelley practically came out of the womb sad, and not just the normal "wailing baby" kind. Her mother, feminist author and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, passed away less than a month after giving birth to her, leaving her anarchist father to raise her. Fortunately for him, Thoughts of the Education of Daughters was one of the books Wollstonecraft left behind, alongside 1792's seminal A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Author Sandra Gilbert explains that Shelley only came to know her mother through her work:
Especially because she never knew her mother … her principal mode of self-definition—certainly in the early years of her life with Shelley, when she was writing Frankenstein—was through reading. Endlessly studying her mother’s works and her father's, Mary Shelley may be said to have 'read' her family and to have been related to her reading, for books appear to have functioned as her surrogate parents, pages and words standing in for flesh and blood.
Mary Shelley lost her virginity in a graveyard
There are no better goth credentials than losing your virginity in a graveyard, and Mary Shelley (then Mary Godwin) almost certainly ticked that box. The young Godwin first met the love of her life, Percy Shelley, in between two stays in Scotland when she was 17 and he was 22. At the time, he was estranged from his wife, so he saw nothing wrong with accompanying Mary on long walks through the St. Pancras Churchyard where Godwin's mother was buried, one of her favorite places. On June 26, 1814, Shelley and Godwin declared their love for one another in a "sublime and rapturous moment," a phrase that can only be construed as the young author trading in her V-card surrounded by headstones, including her mother's.